hands people friends communication
Inspiration, mental health, parenting

Three Ways You Can Show Meaningful Love to Your Person/People

  1. Explore and communicate in their love language

The love languages are a couple’s therapist most basic tool; however, that being said, I am a big fan! The five love languages are ways that people can express love and ways that people receive love (quality time, words of affirmation, touch, gifts, acts of service). Oftentimes we see that couples and parent/child dyads are misaligned. This isn’t a bad thing but it does take effort to understand and address. If you want your person (spouse, partner, child, friend) to feel loved, you MUST learn to communicate in THEIR love language, not your own. The inverse is also true, if you aren’t feeling loved, it is probably because they are communicating in a love language that doesn’t register with you as much. This can be fixed relatively quickly, there is hope!

A great example is that for me, my love language is NOT touch. I am not a hugger or a touchy feely person; however, one of my daughters is touch person, she NEEEEEEEEDS touch to feel loved. This means that I have to work hard to remember to be (what feels to me like) extra touchy with her: snuggles, back rubs, lotioning, hand-holding, etc. so that she feels my love. Another of my daughters prefers quality time. This means that for her, it’s more important that I sit down and play with her, read with her, take walks with her, etc. Learning to communicate in the right love language will save you so much time and effort in the long run!

I’d challenge you to take the love languages quiz (this can be found via a Google search or on the 5 Love Languages app) and let your people know the results. Then you can ask them to take the quiz and share their results with you.

  1. Play board games

It doesn’t matter who you are trying to connect with, board games are connecting. Playing board games require you to sit down with someone, giving them your full attention and share with them your true personality. You can choose to engage in a game that either brings the two of you together toward a common goal (a cooperative game) or pits you against one another (competitive game) – either way, you will find yourself feeling calmer, happier, and closer to the person (and calmer, happier and closer to yourself!

I always chuckle at the eye rolls that I get from people when I suggest board games because it seems that universally, people think they’re “lame” AND universally, when people actually play games, they have FUN! Board games may be “old school”, but they stand the test of time. Whether your loved one is 2 years old or 100 years old, there are board games out there…a small amount of research will unveil a hidden nerd-centric world that you didn’t even know existed. Check it out!

  1. Go for walks and hold hands (if appropriate)

My husband and I enjoy going for walks around the block after our children go to bed (don’t worry, with the technology in our world – house and bedroom cameras, smart locks, etc. – they’re safe when we take a .5 mile walk in a square around our home). This time is often the most connected we are all day because we hold hands, walk without screens, and discuss our days. We process our fears and hopes and find the time to be a safe space to be vulnerable. The movement is a bonus because it allows us to let go of our anxieties and use movement to release our daily frustrations. We often come up with our best ideas on these walks!

Kids and friends also enjoy walking with their people. One of my daughter’s favorite rewards, is being able to take a walk around the above mentioned block with me before school. We also hold hands and see the same benefits that I’ve already mentioned. Friendships would benefit from the same practice! Walking with neighbors, friends, or co-workers can bring you closer together (although the hand-holding is likely not going to be as relevant)! You can get to know so much about people just by spending committed time with them, without the distractions of screens and the pings of your phone.

If you’ve been feeling lonely, I would challenge you to follow these tips for one week and see how you feel. Journal about how you feel before the challenge and then again each day of the challenge. Are you feeling more connected? Less lonely? Do you find yourself feeling more loved and important to your people? What surprises you about the experience? What were the challenges to implement the practices?

two women smiling
Inspiration, Journaling, mental health

A Sense of Pride

Why do we think of pride as a negative emotion? The message I think we all get from culture, is that pride is a bad thing and something hide or feel ashamed of. The message is that pride makes you cocky and arrogant. The message I propose is that you SHOULD be proud of your accomplishments and SHOULD be comfortable discussing them with your friends and family!

Pride is defined as:

a feeling of deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements, the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired.

Pride is knowing that you did a great thing or achieved a big accomplishment. It is knowing that you did the hard work needed to live with integrity. Pride is a necessary component of self-esteem and self-worth. Pride is not the same as bragging, bragging is when you take your pride too far and talk about it TOO much, to a degree of annoying others. Arrogance is taking pride and self-esteem too far, making it the only thing that matters in your life. Pride is simply recognizing your accomplishments and not being afraid to take ownership of the hard work you put in to achieve them!

That being said, I’d like to share the things I am most proud of:

  • my work ethic (cue song from Flash Dance “she work’s hard for her money…”
  • my sense of adventure and willingness to do hard things (ie: backpacking, hiking, home renovations, yard work)
  • my sewing and cooking skills (my mom taught me so many homesteading skills!)
  • my parenting (we are playing the long game, trying to instill values in our kids, even when giving them a tablet would be easier)
Inspiration, parenting

You CAN Ask For Time

Why do we feel pressured to give answers right away? As I toured a new school for my daughter today (and following two meetings with two different schools the prior week), it struck me how much pressure I felt to give them their desired answers, during the interactions. In reflecting on the experiences, I wanted to share my realizations.

During the phone call last week, they asked me when my daughter would be starting the school and I was taken aback. That’s presumptuous…why did they feel that they had a right to assume she would be attending? I had to brake the silence somehow, but worried about coming off as too rude or giving them false hope. I took a deep breath and told them that I wasn’t sure if she would be attending, I’d like time to process the call with my husband and then tour the school prior to making a decision. I asked for two days after the tour to decide.

I’d like to be sure it’s a good fit and make sure we don’t see any red flags” I stated.

What sorts of red flags?” they snapped back quickly…

I’m not sure, I wouldn’t know until I saw them. It’s important to us to see the space and get a feel for it” I replied, annoyed and beginning to feel defensive.

It is interesting to me, as a therapist who coaches others to be assertive, that I find myself in these sorts of conversations without realizing that I should have seen it coming. The reality is, we cannot predict when we will be thrown a curve ball (that’s what makes them so effective)! The one thing that helps me, without fail, is that I know my rights.

  • I have the right to ask for time to make a decision, very few things in life need immediate response
  • I have the right to ask for what I want and need
  • I have the right to my own emotions
  • I have the right to be treated with respect
  • I have the right to respectfully disagree with others
  • I have the right to be dissatisfied
  • I have the right to expect honesty from others
  • I have the right to have my opinions heard, in full

Remembering and holding others accountable for the rights listed above does not make you pushy, bad, rude, or “extra” (as long as you maintain respect in your communication). The message we often receive from others, when asserting our needs, is that we are “too much”. We get the message that we should “make ourselves small” in order to keep other people comfortable. If we all stay silent to keep other people comfortable, we will be going backwards in history.

Speak up and speak out, stand up for your needs and rights; however, do it with respect. Maintain your integrity. Remember that you go to bed with yourself every night and I want you to be able to sleep in peace, knowing you kept your composure! I’ll be transparent, while this is how I am feeling today – last week there were tears and frustration levels were high (which is not the time to blog). We had four meetings (some on Zoom, some on the phone) in the two weeks leading up to today’s tour. I was overwhelmed with information and felt alone in making big decisions for my child.

What worked for me is that I held my ground. I didn’t give them their answer after the phone and zoom calls and I held them to the tour. It worked! Today on the tour they were SO much more respectful of my desire to wait and hear all factors and options, prior to making a choice! In the tour, they said “if you choose to send your child to our school….” instead of making the assumption that I would. I felt so much more respected and the pressure was eliminated! I hope this empowers you to slow down and remember your rights in hard discussions. Whether it’s with your boss, spouse, friend, co-worker, child, provider, etc., you have the right to ask for time and respect!